The annual reed dance, that sees tens of thousands of young women gather at King Goodwill Zwelithini’s Enyokeni Royal Palace, took place over the past weekend in Eshowe. After dancing their way to the palace the maidens present the king with long reeds as symbols of their purity. In addition to preserving an important Zulu tradition, the practice of uMkhosi woMhlanga is keeping up with the times, using the opportunity to educate young girls on the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases, human trafficking and falling prey to ‘sugar daddies’ who entice young girls to give up their virginity, resulting in unplanned pregnancies, teenage mothers, and the spread HIV/Aids.
But of course the event is also a celebration, with wonderful displays of traditional dancing and beadwork! The Reed Dance also highlights the role of cultural tourism, with both local and international visitors flocking to the province to watch the event.
Image courtesy of the Department of Arts & Culture KwaZulu-Natal